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Southwell, United Kingdom

Ellis A.D.,UNEQUI Ltd. | Redgate S.,Nottingham Trent University | Zinchenko S.,Nottingham Trent University | Owen H.,Nottingham Trent University | And 2 more authors.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2015

The aim of this study was to explore the efficacy of multi-layered haynets and multiple presentation of haynets to increase time spent on feed intake behaviour at night (13. h observation). For preliminary assessment two horses performing the oral stereotypy of crib-biting were included. Six horses received the same amount of forage during a 22-day, cross-over study where treatment consisted of either forage presentation in a single small-holed haynet (SH) or the forage was divided between 3 haynet combinations hung up simultaneously. = multiple haynets (MH). The three haynets presented simultaneously consisted of (a) MH single haynet (same as SH), (b) MH double layered haynet and (c) MH triple layered haynet. Multiple haynets were presented, in random order, on three sides of the stable. Horses were filmed using a video surveillance camera with infrared light source. Behaviour was observed for at least 4 nights per treatment (one night during the acclimatisation period [nights 2-4] and three nights during the end period [nights 7-11]). The observation period commenced at 16.30-17.00. h (point of haynets being presented) until 06.00. h (all horses) or 9.00. h (2 crib-biting horses) the next morning. Data were analysed for normal distribution and ANOVA between haynets, paired t-tests between treatments and Pearson correlation were used (SPSS. 17.00; 2012). There was a significant effect of type of haynet (p<. 0.001) on intake time per kg forage (min/kg for SH: 39; MH all (data combined): 51; MH Single: 27; MH Double: 67; MH Triple: 78; overall sem. 8.9). The overall time budget (minutes per observation hour) showed a significant difference between treatments for eating from haynet, standing still, locomotion and drinking. Horses finished eating from SH haynets at around 01.38. am (±1.05. h s.d.), were last observed at the double net at 03.00. am and at the triple net at 05.12. am (±1.25. h s.d.). Based on these results, providing 6. kg of forage in 3 double-layered, 2.5. cm haynets spread around the stable could potentially lead to an increased feeding time of 2. h per night compared to a single 2.5. cm holed haynet containing 6. kg. From the continuous observation data a clear visual difference in crib-biting pattern and therefore motivation to perform crib-biting emerged between the two stereotypic horses. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Ellis A.D.,UNEQUI Ltd. | Fell M.,Nottingham Trent University | Luck K.,Nottingham Trent University | Gill L.,Nottingham Trent University | And 4 more authors.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2015

In some stabled horses, the lack of foraging opportunity leads to a reduction in chewing time with consequent negative impacts on the digestive system and potentially development of stereotypies. This study aimed to compare the effect of four types of haynets on feed intake behaviour in stabled horses. Feed intake behaviour (intake time, bite rate, chews/kilogram, chews/minute) was measured in 12 horses (age 13. ±. 4 yrs; BW 585. ±. 62. kg) using four types of haynets (Eliminet 25. mm mesh, Furlong 30. mm, Haylage net 30. mm, Original 'Large' 75. mm) in a 4. ×. 4 Latin Square Design. Horses were provided with their daily forage intake via each haynet for a 10-day period and forage intake measurements were taken at the beginning, middle and end of each period to account for acclimatisation to the haynets. Data was analysed using ANOVA and is presented as means. ±. standard error. The 'Large' haynet recorded more chews per minute (66. ±. 1.1 versus 60. ±. 1.0. chews/min, p<. 0.01) compared to other haynets due to a reduced bite rate (17. ±. 1.7. bites/kg versus 28. ±. 1.6. bites/min, p<. 0.001). The Eliminet (smallest mesh) only showed a weak trend in reduced intake in grams per minute translating to a significantly increased intake time per 1. kg of hay compared to the Large haynet (Eliminet 33. min, Furlong 29. min, Haylage 28. min, Large 25. min; p<. 0.01) when excluding acclimatisation data (beginning). Overall, however, all smaller holed haynets (25-30. mm) were equally successful in slightly slowing feed intake down with an increased intake time of around 5. min/kg compared with the 'large-holed' haynet (75. mm). Night observations (. n=. 6) showed no difference in the time to finish eating between the haynets but did show that feeding time was spread slightly more across the night with the smaller mesh nets. Most horses (67% of observations) had eaten all their forage or no longer returned to the nets (6.5. ±. 1. kg) after 22:30 at night. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Ellis A.D.,UNEQUI Ltd. | Stephenson M.,Nottingham Trent University | Preece M.,Nottingham Trent University | Harris P.,Equine Studies Group
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2014

This study piloted a multiple aspect approach to assess differences or changes in equine behaviour, using physiological (heart rates - HR, salivary cortisol - SC) and behavioural measures in various routine (feed-time, riding, turning out) and test situations (novel situation tests NS: 2× reactivity and 2× handling, Cross-over design). In order to evaluate if this approach could identify different behavioural patterns, two distinct groups of riding school horses (selected by experienced equine professionals) were observed repeatedly over 6 weeks: 6 excitable/nervous horses (EX: Age: mean. =. 14. ±. 3.4, 8-18. yrs, BW 677. ±. 48. kg, Body Condition [BC]. =. 4.6. ±. 0.4) and 6 calm, quiet horses (CA: Age: mean. =. 16. ±. 2.5, 12-18. yrs, BW 645. ±. 35, BC 5.1. ±. 0.4).EX horses had consistently lower SC levels than CA horses (p<0.01), when coming in from the paddock in the morning. Therefore, there was a significant increase of SC after feeding for EX horses (+43%, p<0.05) but not for Group CA (only 16%). After feeding SC showed no difference between the two groups. Calm horses had significantly higher HRs (44±1.2bpm) while waiting for feed and post feeding (p<0.01) than EX horses (38±0.7; p<0.05). Behavioural measures showed significantly higher agitation scores for EX horses during feeding, walking to (p<0.01) and release into paddock (p<0.05). When ridden, EX horses showed a greater amount of threatening behaviour towards other horses (p<0.05) and CA horses showed a significantly greater reluctance to move forward (p<0.05). All mean agitation scores were significantly higher for Group EX (EX 2.3, CA 1.8, s.e.m. 0.3; p<0.01) and apart from feed time these showed good correlations with behaviour observations. In the NS reactivity test CA horses had a significantly higher HR variability than EX horses (CA: 64±10.5, EX: 41±3.5, p<0.05). There was no correlation between HRs and SC but in the NS handling test there was a correlation between SC and refusals to cross a bridge (p<0.01; rs[12]=0.70) as well as SC and agitation score (p=0.07; rs[12]=0.54). Horses which displayed a greater level of investigation scored lower in agitation behaviours (p<0.01, rs[12]=-0.68). The methodology applied, clearly and consistently highlighted differences between horse groups, although the physiological measures did not always follow assumptions. Within groups individual horses reacted differently in standardised test and routine situations, highlighting that multiple testing will increase the chances of observing subtle changes in behaviour or perceived stress. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.. Source

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